Buried Under Textbooks Preparing For Entrance Exam


Every year, Chinese high school students in their last year must prepare for and take entrance examinations that determine what college or university they can be admitted to. If you do good, you can get into a better school, which can improve your future career prospects. Recently, a Chinese netizen posted some pictures of students in Henan, China preparing for their entrance examination this year. Surrounding them are the many piles of textbooks and preparation materials they must study.

From NetEase:

Here are some some pictures I took when I went to my alma mater Henan Taikang #1 High School to take care of some things. See how us Henan people not only have other than high grain yields, but also high textbook production. Oh well, what can you do, Henan’s college entrance examination quota is too small, and the competitive pressure is too big, so everyone has thirty to forty books. However, no matter how many books, the quota is still only so small, so even though everyone has grown up and studied together, everyone can only compete with each other.

I truly feel bad for these younger school brothers and school sisters, myself having been liberated [from all this].






There are only a few that are actually useful.


Same, it was the same when I went to high school.


Same, everyone is the same. However, I want to ask, just how many of the books are actually useful? Plus the college mathematics that everyone learned, was it useful?


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This can become a library.


The pressure to learn is too much!

Sigh! I cannot bear to remember those times…


That can be considered less than before. When I was in the last year of high school, I had a pile on my desk, my drawer was crammed full, and on the floor I had a box full of practice materials…


Lou zhu” is too easily surprised. In the past when we were in high school, there were even more books than this, yet we got through all the same.


This is a lot? Go find any Hebei high school and see.


It was like this for all of us, not the least bit unusual.  My own experience is still fresh in my mind.


To this day, I have a hard time forgetting the feeling of preparing for the college entrance examination. I really yearn for those days, because even though they were difficult, they were still very pleasant. Brothers, “jia you!”


To be honest, I already had more [books] than this in middle school. It is even more terrifying now in high school. So, seeing this does not really seem strange at all~~~


I only had six to seven books when I was in my last year of high school, nothing else!

All the same, I did fine on my college entrance examination.

Learning is not about having a lot of books, but about your ability to concentrate and digest while attending class!


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This is only what is put on the desk, there are more in the drawers. I’m also in my last year [of high school].


This is considered not bad.

Thinking back to when I was in high school, I had even more books on my desk, and everyone had a box underneath their desks to hold books! Just thinking about it still makes me a little scared!

When graduating, just selling all the books made me several tens of kuai!


Everyone who has been through high schools knows that the books are put on the desks to block the teacher’s line of sight while so you can read novels and comic books.


You think this is bad? I had more books when I was going to school. About exam practice, we would clear our desks in the morning, and then the teacher spent all day giving practice questions (usually exams, teacher-made), spreading them onto the table one by one. When school ended (10:30-11:00 at night), there could be up to 20 something exams on the desk, I am not exaggerating. Moreover, every day was like this, except Saturdays and Sundays. At the time, we were training our [exam-taking] speed. Each class was 45 minutes and we had to do at least two exams during and score above 80%. It was a brutal method of teaching, a flooding/overwhelming tactic.


This is a lot? Any and all of Jiangsu’s high schools are like this, especially in the last year. Back in our day, we had far more books thank this. We also had many at home too. Those days, so miserable. The pressure was so much that it forced some people to go jump off buildings…nonetheless we finally got through the nightmare.


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The most disgusting side of China’s education system…


Brother, it was the same for us all.


It has been over 2 years since I have graduated, but I still have nightmares. Life during the last year of high school was taking tests everyday!

There are many pages with hundreds of replies to this topic. Most are similar to the above. As long as there are entrance examinations and students who must prepare for them, every year there will be similar topics and comments on many BBS.

See more Chinese students:

Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

  • Chris

    It’s funny how many Chinese people I’ve talked hate the system (and its associated societal ills). Come to think of it I’ve never really heard someone defend it and I’m even surprised some people can get all nostalgic like one of the posters. If no one supports it why does it still exist?

  • haohao

    damn. why aren’t all chinese students smarter than US students then?

  • Kai

    The nostalgia might be a bit tied with a feeling that its like some sort of rite of passage. The system persists because idiots still run it.

  • fireworks

    That is alot of CORE textbooks just to study for university entrance. stress rote learning and competition.

  • Tom

    I wish someone would teach them how to act in a job interview. Since the majority of them bribe the teacher for their marks I often wonder what they really do with their time.

  • ffs

    If the majority bribe their teachers then why the heck are they studying…

  • Tom


  • Jay K


    first and foremost I havent seen you reply/post in a long time.
    2nd i tihnk that may have been the first time you have said anything criticial of the system in China,this is not looking good for your upcoming promotion in the ranks of the CCP

  • fantastic 4

    In response to one of the comments of how much the math studying actually helped, I’d like to note that one of my favorite schools had a running joke, “Usually people say that 2 plus 2 equals for. By the time you leave here, you’ll be saying, wanna make a bet.”

    Side note: I had this tutor once who kept giving me perfect scores. I couldn’t figure out why. I guess he figured he knew how to crack the whip. ;

  • To be fair to the Chinese government, what’s the alternative to this system? They’re trying to publicly educate a huge number of people, and they can’t magically create more colleges to decrease competition, nor can they stop people from wanting to get into the top schools. (Of course they can fund new colleges being founded, but I believe they already do this).

    The GaoKao system isn’t perfect, but again, how would you change it. A college application system like America’s simply isn’t feasible. Imagine the number of applicants a school like 北大 or 清华 would get, they’d have to hire an army just to read the personal statements from everyone!

    I’ve spent a lot of time discussing this with Chinese college students in class (hey, it beats teaching), but to date I haven’t heard any suggestion from anyone that’s an actual practical, viable alternative that might significantly improve on the current system.

    Still listening, though. Who can fix education in China (one thing they could and should change, as evidenced by 90% of the stuff on this site, is adding more and better sex ed classes).

  • Kai

    @ Jay K:

    I’m always amused by people who think I’m a Chinese/China apologist because it’s quite clear they’ve never read my comments or posts elsewhere such as CNReviews.com or, back when I was commenting regularly on Global Voices Online.

    My comments are often in response to and critical of what I disagree with. Also, different blogs have different people commenting on them so some blogs are more “pro-Western/anti-Chinese” or “anti-Western/pro-Chinese”. When one “side” or another gets too idiotic (in my opinion), I often comment to set them straight (again in my opinion). I always welcome people to try to argue with me if they disagree, and I certainly judge people for their ability to make good arguments.

    I think chinaSMACK naturally attracts a lot of disgruntled foreigners who enjoy finding excuses to look down or insult the Chinese. Hence, on here, I tend to make defenses of the Chinese more. Note that I’m not necessarily make defenses or excuses for any “system” but just rather the people, culture, society, or the way things simply are here.

    Other places where there are a lot of disgruntled Chinese being idiotic, I tend to try showing them how they’re being, well, idiots. I’m quite good at it too (yet again in my opinion).

    Simply put, I try to understand both sides and figure out what’s right and fair. There’s really enough ignorance, misunderstanding, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, superiority-complexes, victimhood, and (of course, my favorite) general idiocy on both sides of the aisle. How I respond here just reflects what I perceive to be the bias of the commenter community here on this website.

    For the record, I’ve made a lot of critical comments about the system in China on here. I really do welcome you to review my past comments and review your conclusion that I’m not critical of the system in China. I think its quite laughable that you think that. It’s so simplistic that its kind of disrespectful.

    Also, I’m not a member of the CCP. You’re reading too much into what you think you see in my gravatar. That’s kinda disappointing.

  • wuxia

    @Jay K
    Haha…tru dat! I’m guessing Kai is having a bad China day/week. :-)
    Didn’t even take the trouble explaining “idiots”

  • Tom

    Yada yada yada! Kai you do know you come off very pompous dont you? Have you read your posts? Have a little read and see what you would think of people saying that stuff.

  • troll


    It is quite clear from not a few debates going on in various posts that you hero-worship westerners, saying yea yea to every insult they hurl on China and its people. You obviously despise your own people, while fantasizing that all things west are sacred.

    Your command of English is awesome and at first reading does offer some camouflage for your feelings of being inferior, even as a Chinese person. On further reading, it becomes very clear to everybody here that you’ve been using your language ability to twist words around, while defending these FCUK-ing westerners, which makes you no less one.

    It is also quite obvious that you are an attention-seeker, who enjoys writing long essays just to increase your online presence here..

  • The John

    @ Kai

    To be honest, I like your posts. I think there are a few posters on here that I enjoy reading. I think different perspectives are needed and you at least try to keep a clear head, better than some others.

    I dont think Kai is a disloyal to Chinese. Nor do I think he is saying something bad about foreigners.

    As long as people are not insulting each other, let them have their say.

    @ troll

    YOU ARE DOING A DISERVICE TO CHINESE…. The mentality of us versus the westerners is so stupid, that it is not even worthy of debate. The are “westerners” that appreciate China. There are also Chinese that appreciate westerners. Where you live does NOT determin if you are a good/bad person. If someone says something stupid, it is because they are stupid. You can blame the west for certains people idiocy. Just like people cannot blame ALL Chinese for certain problems that exist in the society. You cannot jump on the nationalist bandwagon and spout your bullshit. Get the fuck out of here and stop losing Chinese face…

  • Asis

    To, The John

    I have to agree with your point about people ‘keeping clear heads’.

    I think it’s important to maintain a standard on these sites and not let things descend into silly, inflammatory insults.

    I guess it’s easy to fall into though, with the whole ‘faceless’ nature of the internet.

  • I support Kai!

  • Peteryang


    It is quite clear from not a few debates going on in various posts that you hero-worship westerners, saying yea yea to every insult they hurl on China and its people. You obviously despise your own people, while fantasizing that all things west are sacred.

    Your command of English is awesome and at first reading does offer some camouflage for your feelings of being inferior, even as a Chinese person. On further reading, it becomes very clear to everybody here that you’ve been using your language ability to twist words around, while defending these FCUK-ing westerners, which makes you no less one.

    It is also quite obvious that you are an attention-seeker, who enjoys writing long essays just to increase your online presence here..


  • Peteryang

    not only the education system is dumb, it is also unfair. most schools are openly pricing their enrollments, and if you ain’t too bad you can just pay your way in (like I did for college), and parents will gladly do that. the average majority with a poor family can only torture themself for a decent future.

    I haven’t seen any reform since I left college, at times I’d think of my past and feel stupid to have been through these nonsense, and I get depressed whenever I see herds of students biking their way to the unescapable destiny.

  • Kai

    Wow…that’s awesome. On one hand I have Jay K thinking I’m a Chinese apologist and, on the other hand, troll is accusing me of being a traitor to the Chinese.

    @ troll:

    LoL, are you someone who went by a different name on here and are still butt-hurt over some debate we had? How cute, why don’t you come back when you’ve grown up and are mature enough to at least not be afraid to associate your name with the comments you make?

    @ tom:

    Well, you do understand its a bit hard imagining what I’d think of other people saying exactly what I say how I say it when I already know I fully believe what I say (whew). The best I can do is try to remember people who hold similar opinions as I do or somewhat sound like me. Unfortunately for what you were hoping, I actually tend to be quite impressed with those people and have great respect for them, thanking heaven and earth there are others who “get it.” Well, probably at least the same way you feel when you meet people whose views are similar to your’s, right?

    Sorry to disappoint. Any other names you’d like to call me?

    Alright, as for the rest of you (you know who you are):

    As I already said, I’m constantly amused by people who prefer to lump me into being a China apologist or anti-foreigner simply because I’ve disagreed with common beliefs, sentiments, or prejudices certain foreigners hold dear to their hearts. There’s not much difference between them and the Chinese nationalists they so love to accuse of being brainwashed and mentally unable to process dissent or engage in reasoned discourse.

    Does saying this make me a pompous ass? Maybe, but then again I tend to feel the same way about those who accuse me of such. So I guess we’re all pompous asses in each other’s eyes. Fine, I can live with that.

    Now, I don’t deny sprinkling some venom in my arguments, and I certainly can be far more polite in my more heated debates. That said, I don’t think anyone can accuse me of not taking my time to respond to people, and explain my positions and disagreements with others. I admit I’m verbose, and whereas some people understandably prefer to equate verbosity with being pompous, its really a byproduct of me being very nuanced (perhaps to a fault) with expressing my thoughts. Some will pick up on and appreciate those nuances in my position (and I appreciate that), while others will not or simply cannot. So be it. As far as I’m concerned, your desire to dismiss it as me trying to “increase my online presence here” (seriously, for what end?) says more about your laziness or inability to process disagreement. You’re free to continue limiting your arguments to black and white statements and ad hominem attacks.

    Now, I always thought it was a sign of humility to give people the time of day, and I probably give too many of my critics and detractors here plenty of my time offering to exchange different perspectives with them. Some will engage in discussion, others will just write me off as another person who simply MUST be *insert negative descriptor of choice here* because I dared think and open my mouth otherwise. As “Asis” once said, I “must have hit a nerve” with those people.

    I reckon some of you are thinking “what an ass, the audacity of him to lecture me!” and guess what, you’re probably guilty precisely of what I’m saying. You are just as arrogant, stubborn, and close-minded as all the Chinese fenqing and ultra-nationalists you loathe (or for troll, the arrogant, self-righteous, imperialist Westerners).

    I do, indeed, think of myself as a moderate, someone in between who tries to be fair, reasonable, and open to both sides’ positions, judging each by the veracity and persuasiveness of their arguments. You know what? It fucking sucks to be in this position, because neither side likes you, and you really only have a few people who are intelligent and humble enough to stake out this middle “well, wait a second…” position with you, willing to be berated by both sides.

    But hell, I’d have it no other way, because that’s how I can live with myself. It isn’t about being politically correct or liberal minded or whatever else. It’s about reconciling myself with what I know, and from what I know, there’s right and wrong, reason and idiocy on both sides and often any side. More importantly, I try to share what I know, because I enjoy both freedom of speech and the concept of a marketplace of ideas.

    And troll, I’m sorry if enjoying the freedom of speech and engaging people in reasoned discourse means I hero-worship the West and am camouflaging my inferiority complex because, goddamnit, I wish I were white or something. But if that were the case, you’d think I would at the very least not use a gravatar that clearly shows what race I am…you know, because I’d be secretly trying to pass myself off as non-Chinese, right? I need a roll-eyes smiley right about here.

    @ The John & 月:

    Thanks, I appreciate your input.

    @ Peteryang:

    Dude, did you write the troll piece or were you replying to it with the STFU link? I want to think the latter but I’m not entirely sure…

  • Peteryang

    I was replying to troll.

    humans are defensive egocentric generalizing hyporits by nature, and thats what makes the internet a fun place.

    btw I think chinasmack server has some glitch because I started getting 503 error at regular interval, since yesterday.

  • Kai

    @ ChinaGeeks:

    Regarding the education system, my initial comment was of course oversimplifying things and you definitely brought up some of the right points for consideration. Even the West hasn’t gotten rid of standardized testing as a means of measuring aptitude and ranking people for admissions, so I don’t think the “gao kao” needs to be done away with. A standardized test has its place and it certainly does help ensure that all kids are taught and have mastered certain basics desired by the country by that age.

    I think for now, like you, I’ll be glad with some clear incremental improvements in both the subject-matter of what is taught and how the kids are taught, with the tested subject-matter of the “gao kao” evolving with it. I understand trying to evolve people’s teaching methods is difficult, something of a generational process requiring that people be untrained of their bad habits and retrained in the new hotness appropriate for what is to be taught, but it can be done. Everyone just needs to avoid having unrealistic expectations. Besides, it’s not as if the more “humane” college application processes and education systems we know to exist elsewhere in the world got the way they are overnight themselves.

    I do want to say that I do think its cool that many Chinese students and people are actually quite aware of the shortcomings of the current system and education system, and even vocal about it. That’s a requisite for change and its there. Otherwise we wouldn’t have that cool post about Chinese universities pouring shit into students’ minds. People need to recognize the problems and voice out about them before there’s hope for change, before there is hope for society’s feedback to actually influence the evolution of a country’s education system. I’m not so sure this was possible in the past, for a student, or a parent, or the constituents to collectively begin pressing for change in how following generations will be educated.

    But yeah, China has a huge population and there’s enormous inertia. People don’t like to change, so it’ll be tough. I’m just not really sold that those in charge of the country’s education are really working their asses off doing their jobs, TRYING to make things better. Even if they are, I prefer that they’re always being scrutinized and hung over the flaming coals so they keep working their ass off. China needs it.

  • Kai

    @ peteryang:

    Cool and LoL, yes, we’re all defensive egocentric generalizing hypocrites. Some people just hide it better than others.

    I’ve gotten the 503 sometimes but not often. I usually assume its because something scandalous was posted and the internet hordes are overwhelming what I’m guessing is chinaSMACK’s bottom of the barrel Dreamhost hosting plan…and I’m usually right.

  • ash

    I had just as many books on my desk when I was studying here in China for the end of semesters.

  • HAHA. Kai is the shit. Although I rarely read his long ass posts but he is still cool. I even disagree with him. (I’m not mr.Troll. Not this particular instance.)

    Anyway, this school rote learning is stupid. I hope the system can change. But there is just too *many* people and thus the competition is fierce. A generation of kids are giving up and just living it up on the streetz.

    what we need is a world-wide quasi religious institution — a monastic life-style dedicated to learning an discovery of knowledge, using the scientific method.

    Haha NOT>.

    We just need return the earth to before humans.

  • That’s a lot of books… but content wise it’s equivalent to a few really *THICK* books (looking at my shelf I’ve read at least that many books for undergrad). I mean I bet that I’ve burned my way through an equivalent set of knowledge and words. But I definitely do not do the rote memory thing. I just gleam through, note where everything is for future reference (and of course usually bomb on tests and shit, haha. Cuz I’m lazy and sometimes procrastinate on homework).

    If you are into the shit you are studying who cares???

    If you are into partying then who cares?

    Iz all good.

    Then you graduate… and have to surf the human waves at interviews.

    Shit sucks.

  • Ronnie

    Wow…People again are making such a fuss out of it.

    I am Chinese, and I admit the senior year at high school is one of my best experiences up till now. I don’t remember being buried in books though. What I remember is that reading Harry Potter in the wee hours, skipping classes to play KOF following a desastrous mock exam, sneaking out to play basketball whenever the teacher trusted ourselves to be left alone in the classroom to review the materials on our own, having a brief relationship that abruptly ended along with the close of school. Basically, I think I studied hard and had fun as a teenager at the same time.

    My point is that don’t blame the system, and not all Chinese are nerds. Honestly, I think I learned how to better handle stress and juggle with work and personal life. Whenever I got a chance to catch up with a friend, we’d enjoy talking about those not-so-distant memories, bitter and sweet. We all turned out fantastic!

    A takeaway: only losers blame the system. Take advantage of it. Should you find that experience miserable, maybe you were a nerdy person inherently

  • Mark

    It’s almost the same everywhere in the world no?

  • lenovo

    Friday, February 6, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    It’s funny how many Chinese people I’ve talked hate the system (and its associated societal ills). Come to think of it I’ve never really heard someone defend it and I’m even surprised some people can get all nostalgic like one of the posters. If no one supports it why does it still exist?
    Because it is at least the most fair competition in China now. Whoever is smarter and working harder can get into the universities. Even for poor students from rural areas, there will be special student loans.

    If any country has the same population as China’s, i am sure they will adopt the same education system….

  • Asis


    Called mutually opposing things by different people?

    That’s what happens when u make long, drawn-out, bland comments that don’t actually say anything and most people stop reading halfway through.

  • Kai

    @ Asis:

    The best thing you can come up to express your dislike for me is to whine about the length of my comments? Wow, you’re creative. Keep it up, sparky. You’ve got a winner on your hands.

  • Adam

    One more post in favor of Kai. His posts are usually short, containing an idea, and in response to something. What more can you ask for in a discussion? This isn’t a blog for the merits of how a government is set up so excuse the following… I see the problem as comparable to one of human virtue. It would always be wrong for the way others act to make the rights you afford yourself less clear. I see the incorrect stereotypes of China and understand how the way us Westerners act as being quite wrong (look above) but i still wish i saw more honest self assessment from the Chinese. Away from correcting misconceptions and focused within on subjects like what rights the people should have, how the government should be organized, and just clear ideas. I rarely do, and though I’ve learned that the Chinese certainly speak their mind, its only been replaced by a perception of certain ideas and questions not being spoken and i can’t believe that doesn’t come down the political environment.

  • mtm

    Kai said:
    “I think chinaSMACK naturally attracts a lot of disgruntled foreigners who enjoy finding excuses to look down or insult the Chinese. Hence, on here, I tend to make defenses of the Chinese more. Note that I’m not necessarily make defenses or excuses for any “system” but just rather the people, culture, society, or the way things simply are here.

    Other places where there are a lot of disgruntled Chinese being idiotic, I tend to try showing them how they’re being, well, idiots. I’m quite good at it too (yet again in my opinion).”

    Mixed feelings here. I agree and could almost believe those words were my own about a decade ago, except now I also fall into the disgruntled Chinese idiot category. I am not a xenophobe, I do (IRL) contradict stupid pompous “China Shining” (usually noveau riche) idiots as well as grossly delusional fenqing. And I do of course want world peace and fluffy kittens etc, but when 99% of the English language internet is populated with knee jerk hate-China bad-China evil-China c0cksuckers, I prefer to troll and troll troll troll like a Chinese FDLR troll. Fcuk’em.

  • BBSguy

    “I rarely do, and though I’ve learned that the Chinese certainly speak their mind, its only been replaced by a perception of certain ideas and questions not being spoken and i can’t believe that doesn’t come down the political environment.”

    Kind of a weird thing to say when some of the biggest discussions on Tianya are about politics and the government system. Regardless, I just wanted to say I enjoy reading Kai’s reponses, but some of them are definitely too long. Plus you need a haircut or at least that picture needs one.

  • pug_ster

    I don’t see what is the difference between in the Chinese system and how many US students try to compete for to go to an Ivy League school. Most of us schmoes ended up in a State university or 2nd tier Universities.

  • Adam

    I’d like to read that BBSguy, does anyone have any other websites that translate the discussion amongst Chinese?

  • I think chinaSMACK naturally attracts a lot of disgruntled foreigners who enjoy finding excuses to look down or insult the Chinese.

    That’s because what little bit of Chinese is required to read it is explained in a glossary. It’s really a testament to the translation being so good.

    You’re reading too much into what you think you see in my gravatar.

    I’ve always wondered what your gravatar is.

    i still wish i saw more honest self assessment from the Chinese

    I don’t think it’s a case of not makings assessments. It’s just that they can’t really denounce such things in public and they’re certainly not going to talk about it much with a foreigner. chinaSMACK is focused on pop culture, not politics.

    China will deal with its problems alone.

  • Kai

    @ mtm:

    Heh, everyone has different levels of idealism, passion, and patience, but even I see mine waning through the years, getting tired of the never-ending waves of idiocy that we know will always exist. However, I guess I’d rather just ignore than actively troll. For example, I don’t even bother reading the comments at Fool’s Mountain because I know I’d probably never have time to do anything else in my life.

    @ BBSguy:

    You’re right. Like any society, there are actually plenty of people in China who are politically-inclined and voice their views, especially on the internet. It is a little harder for foreigners to appreciate due to the language barrier. That said, and to be fair, I wouldn’t necessarily say every perception or impression foreigners have about Chinese people’s general willingness and ability to engage in political discourse is unfounded.

    Yes, I’m verbose and most of the time, only I feel every word I wrote was necessary. As for my hair in my gravatar, eh, I didn’t think that was particularly long. I’ve had far longer…and far worse. ;)

    @ jayman:

    Yeah. Only a portion of the foreigners visiting here actually enjoy it because they’re getting translations and translations of bona fide Chinese netizen comments. The others just get here because they enjoy the subject-matter. With disgruntled foreigners, I was referring to those who largely come here for the latter not really caring for the former.

  • Kai

    @ Adam:

    If you haven’t already found, you might find more translation of Chinese netizen comments and blog posts at websites like EastSouthWestNorth or Global Voices Online (China section). Roland Soong and Bob Chen both often do posts that translate more political subject matter written by Chinese themselves. chinaSMACK is comfortable with going into the people angry about government corruption, but they stay away from more hardcore discussions of political ideology, systems, and rights. chinaSMACK is, as someone said, more about pop culture stuff.

    @ pug-ster:

    The “gao kao” pretty much determines what level of school you should be hoping to get into and thus applying to much in the same way applicants in the States use their own SAT scores and grades to determine where they’re going to invest their college application money. The difference is that universities in the States take more factors into consideration beyond just a single test score. The question is whether or not China’s universities want to or have the ability to expand the criteria by which they evaluate an applicant’s qualifications and suitability for entering their school.

  • skydiggity

    i think it’s funny how everyone competes to see who has more books.

    i agree with the posters saying that it’s not about how many books you have, but about how you approach the 高考. the problem isn’t the 高考 it’s the way the teachers of backwards school systems feel their students must prepare for it. and that is where pity comes into play.

    evolution in china is why i’m here though, so keep on opening up those brain waves 中国朋友!

  • Tom

    Oh Kai I really am getting bored of you, 8 comments in one post?????? Don’t you have a job?
    And for your information I didn’t call you names, again if you actually read my comment you’ll see that I accurately described you.

  • Dented

    I think the exams end up being a largely ineffective way to teach these kids anyway. I do agree with some of the posts here that ask for opinions on a better way to do this. I’m a big supporter of assignment based examination but I don’t think that this could be done in china due to the corruption with the teachers and within the the system it’s self.

    As a university teacher here I’ve been called several times by parents offering me quite large sums of money to not fail their kid once before I’d even actually given the exams. The sums offered were hard for me to turn down and represent several months of wages from my Chinese counterparts.

    I know teachers who have an end of year bonus that is based on how many students they fail if they fail over a certain amount of students no bonus. I’ve also talked to a lot of teachers who have a if the student comes to all the classes I won’t fail them no matter what.

    Please don’t take this to mean that I think all Chinese teachers are corrupt or lazy markers or something It’s just that these people exist in both societies. I think the temptations are higher here and enforcement is lower. I am probably less likely to get caught taking money and passing someone in china. Also there are only very few parents willing to offer teachers a large sum of money to pass their college level classes in western countries.

    So for assignments to work you would have to centrally mark them as the exams are which means then the students can cheat by getting someone else to do the work (Already a profitable job for many students in Universities)

  • VeerLeft

    I am here for all the stories and translations of real Chinese net talk. Unlike most people I have no trouble picking fights in real life.

  • Phobe Lexx

    Seems like the gap between the “real world” and the worlds public school prison systems are growing.

    See the following for a better example of what “education” could be:


    Along with other similar videos by the same author.

  • chinaSMACK is, as someone said, more about pop culture stuff.

    It’s on the About page, you can click the link up top.


    I will collect and repost all of the hot, popular, interesting, outrageous, and shocking things that I see on the Chinese-language internet so foreigners can understand, experience, and enjoy also.

    No politics! I will not talk about politics. I do not want to. It is too serious and not fun. Other people can do that if they are bored.”

    We often get into politics in the comments, and Fauna doesn’t seem to mind that, but she and the other mods rarely get involved.

    I think that’s why I like it better than the other translation sites. They seem so angry. What’s the phrase I’m looking for … a tempest in a teacup seems close.

  • tom2


    please explain your definition of ‘disgruntled foreigners’?


  • pimp

    ^small cock? and jealous

  • Kai

    @ Tom:

    You still bothering just shows you’re bored enough yet. I’ll comment as long as I have something to say and the time to say it. Jay K mentioned not having seen me in a while. As some here might recall, I was vacationing in Hong Kong during that time.

    You describing me as “pompous” is effectively calling me “pompous.” Don’t tell me you’re that colloquially retarded as to not understand how “calling someone names” is used. ;)

    @ Dented:

    Very true. I think one of the contributing factors for the prevalence of corruption in education (amongst other areas) of China is just how different the socio-economic stakes are here compared to many other countries. It really sucks and it still boils back down to that timeless question of what has to change or evolve with society before its members care more about working together to give everyone a fair chance than feeling like they can only be bothered with caring for themselves and their own, the rest be damned.

    @ tom2:

    A disgruntled foreigner can be a foreigner who isn’t at peace with the jarring differences he’s forced to live with here in China. Some people can adapt or accept (without necessarily agreeing with), others can’t or can only manage to survive. A lot of things they witness or experience stresses them out, and frankly, its all very understandable. When they see something, on the internet for example, that reminds them of or reaffirms their anger, disappointment, disgust, etc. with China or the Chinese, it is a often cathartic to express these knee-jerk or even pent-up feelings, especially amongst like-minded people. Didn’t someone mention how their commenting here and how they comment is like “therapy for foreigners?”

    Imagine the analogue: A Chinese transfer student or recent immigrant to the States or Europe, finding some Chinese community blog/forum (mitbbs.com anyone?) and unloading their own anger, disappointment, disgust, etc. on there. In either situation, there will be people who agree or disagree with what is expressed or vented.

    I think chinaSMACK attracts disgruntled foreigners (not that all foreigners reading this are disgruntled) because this website offers another source of news and phenomenon that can often reaffirm disgruntled foreigners’ negative impressions of China or the Chinese. “Oh look, another gold-digging Chinese whore, another corrupt government bastard, another example of systemic failure in product safety” etc. etc. etc. Reading these things can make them feel validated in how they already felt, and there’s just a wee small gap before that validation becomes validation of one’s own inherent “superiority.”

    Disgruntled people need affirmation. They can get plenty from chinaSMACK.

    Okay, so that’s something of a half-assed psychological profile. Can I trust that no one is going to try to accuse me of saying this is what every reader of chinaSMACK is like? The people who aren’t like this shouldn’t feel perturbed at all. Those who are like this probably wouldn’t recognize it anyway, just like how Tom thinks I’m pompous but I don’t. Some will have the self-deprecating humor to entertain the possibility just as I, for example, accept that we could all be pompous asses in each other’s eyes.

  • Hammy

    Even though I am not against the GaoKao system and I like that people can experience that amount of stress to prepare themselves for future work stress, I still feel that it’s a waste of time and energy to learn something that one is never going to use and will probably forget all about it right after the test. The system should perhaps promote or even enforce specialization at an early age, like in high school or in middle school. Maybe at high school level or even middle school, people should be forced to choose a major. And university should accept people based on how well each do in their own major.

  • skydiggity

    I suppose that would be closer to European education than North American, and as North American education seems to be what the Chinese education system tries so often to mimic (SATs anyone?) it would defeat the purpose of this education reformation we’ve been observing for the past two decades.

    I think one of the major problems not only in the high school level but even the tertiary education is that their specialisation so often ends up NOT being what they are doing. China , IMHO , doesn’t need more specialisation but more diversification.

    One of the major things we learn in high school and university isn’t the actual academia we study, but the management of projects, the setting of goals, and the completion from beginning to end. The process of being a successful individual. This is why I feel that these teachers are in most cases atm are wrongly and unfairly educating their students. Instead of focusing on test taking skills, and the proper way to organize and use their information they’ve learned, they are leaning much too heavily on the actual content of the test, trying to teach mere children every fact and figure they, the teachers, can get their hands on.


    i just deleted what i was about to write towards you because i went up and actually finished reading what you posted, and decided to be a little nicer because of your near objectiveness. however, i will say this much, please stop whining no one likes a whiner.